Wednesday, November 2, 2011

You Can't Handle The Truth

The truth is reviews aren't as honest as they should be or could be, the good and the bad. Should I be spilling these probably not.

Most of you, at least those not cozy under a rock somewhere, know there's a new series out there called Toys-4-Us. Here's the good stuff you didn't know. We debated endlessly if we should ask you, our readers & friends, to post reviews. My answer was...ummmm no? Before you start throwing the royal treasury and wondering why I've been allowed to live here's why.

There are secret & not so secret author loops out there. Published writers like to talk to one another because hey who else understands the voices in your head? A big discussion on one of the private loops was all about reader reviews. Now I don't generally pay attention to things like this. Opinions are like...well ya know & everyone's got one. It's the same way with reviews. Everyone has their own slant on a book which is how it should be. But what most of these writers were complaining about were the 'fake' reviews left by so called readers. Now I don't know if these were real readers (is there a test or something), but apparently a few authors were bribing for 5 star reviews. Offering free books, signed trading cards or other fun promo stuff. Huh, you people can be bribed with this stuff? You mean I've been giving it away for nothing, but sheer adulation and worship? Huh, oh well at least we have fun :)

We all know I'm not above a good bribe now and then especially if it involves my guards :) Whew, got to love well-build men with talented-um never mind! So as I was saying bribes are not necessarily bad things, but when used to mislead others yeah not so good.

Reviews I've had good ones and I've had others asking me why I keep killing poor trees to print my muddled crap. You blow one off & make sure not to allow the other to explode your ego. Many a good writer has fallen into their own hype & never to be seen from again. I, however, will never have that problem as I have the Royal House of Bitches! As the name implies these fascinating and slightly unhinged women keep me on my toes, my fingers typing and my ego way way in check. I'm never in danger of falling into my own hype. Drowning in chocolate wine-yes, but nothing else.

Again you're asking yourself WTF is she rambling on now? There is a point, my loyal frog killers, the point is reviews do not make or break a writer or at least they shouldn't. Writers write simply because they must. Throwing a paycheck in is simply a big bonus & keeps a few less crazy talking to themselves people off the street. Never let one person's opinion define or break you.

If a book makes you feel emotion strongly shoot an e-mail to the author. Or if you really loved a certain book and want to share your love with the world then by all means hit Amazon & do the review thing. But please never let one person's viewpoint change your mind about a book. Remember the old adage...Never judge a book by it's cover. So I'm changing that one up to say...Never judge a book by it's one review!

So happy hump day, everyone! Go forth & read! Until next week...



Jennifer Snow said...

Good morning Allie

Great post! I haven't received any reviews on Mistletoe Fever yet but I was nervous about them. Friends and family gushing about how great it is is a little biased lol:)

Love the line about how we write because we have to and the paycheck is a bonus-Couldn't agree more!

Take care

AJ said...

Love the post. I completely agree with not letting a bad review get you down. Just because one person didn't like it doesn't mean the next five wont love your book.


Anonymous said...

What a great attitude! I have to admit it's the blurb that has me interested or not interested in taking a second look at a book. I try to learn something about the reviews on my own work but this is difficult when a review is really more of a subjective thing - what one person objects to, another might like and vice versa.

Lynn LaFleur said...

Great post, Allie! We want everyone to love our books. They're our babies. But I realize there are people out there whose taste is different from mine, so they won't like anything I write. I accept that. I just don't want those people to post any reviews. ;-)

I belong to a wonderful group of authors who support each other and help each other keep the egos under control. If they don't like something I've written, they tell me. As they should. Then I yell at my muse and fix whatever was wrong until it's right.


Harlie Williams said...

As a reviewer, I understand the frustration from the author. One reviewer might love your book and another might rip it to shreds. I actually blogged about this on my own blog.

Great post.

Harlie Williams said...

Plus, some people are just not gonna like you but that's okay. Other people do. :)

Ari Thatcher said...

Great post. I'm beginning to see we owe it to authors to leave reviews of the books we like. Years ago we all left feedback on eBay for the things we bought and that's how people knew who to trust. The websites where I buy games, as well as Netflix, send me periodic emails asking how I enjoyed a recent purchase/rental. If an author brightens a few hours of my day I owe it to her to leave feedback and say thanks!

Eileen said...

good post and to the point. I don't let a review sway me from not reading a book because it is his/her opinion about it. I may like it. That's the beauty of it all. We don't all have to like it and I'm sure there are things that I don't like that he/she likes a lot. I'm usually swayed by the back cover blurb and cover to get me to read a book or not.

Katalina Leon said...

Allie, I'm kicking myself, why didn't you post this sooner? Had I known 5 star reviews could be easily had in exchange for cheapo bookmarks and freebie crappola I would happily have shared for the asking... I wouldn't be trying so hard to write the best stories I can write. I guess I should relax and just stock up on bribes and let the glowing reviews roll in... lol
PS How can authors who bribe for reviews possibly be proud of their work?

Patti P said...

Hello Allie,
I want to let you know I agree with you that a bad review is just one persons opinion. I like to post good reviews on places like Amazon and Goodreads to give others a heads up on a great book. When I read reviews on books I am interested in I do take into account the fact that you can't please everyone. If a book has reviews from people I know, I trust those opinions but that is only a part of what goes into the decision to read a book. If I see a book that has a boatload of bad reviews I start searching for at least one good review just to get a balanced perspective. (well as close as possible) I have authors I buy because I love their books and even with those I have had a dud once in a while. So one so-so book would not necessarily put me off from even a new author. People grow, styles change and what I enjoy reading changes too. I am in awe of writers that can help me escape the normal everyday and make it possible for me escape for a bit. And I thank each and every one of you for sharing your amazing talent with me from the bottom of my heart.

Karenna Colcroft said...

Great post. I like receiving reviews on my books--well, good reviews, anyway--but even the bad ones are sometimes things I can learn from. And if I can't learn from it, I ignore it. It's hard sometimes knowing what to pay attention to.

Jordan Ashley said...

I love this post, Allie! And for me reading this, since I just sent that manuscript off is amazingly good advice and timing. When Torn is published (Yes i say when, because it simply must be published) I know there will be those out there that will tear it down, and others that may sing it's praises to heaven.

This is actually something that Joe and i were talking about yesterday. That when it gets published, it doesn't matter how much money I may get from it, or what people may say, because I'm in this line of work to tell a good story. To get the stories and characters in my head out of it and to share it with the world. If some may not like it, then that's their opinion, if someone else finds it to be something that they will love to their graves, then that's fantastic! But I'm glad I have my friends and family to make sure, as you said, I don't lose myself in the hype.

Unknown said...

It must be in the air... I posted about this very thing over at Authors Promoting Authors today! I'm at the point wherein I might offer bribes just to get a review....but I won't! I'll just wait it out.

C. Zampa said...

And the people said AMEN!

It took me a while to learn NOT to set my moon and sun by reviews, NOT to let them affect my writing.

And, oh, I know some who DO bribe for reviews. Whatever trips a switch, I guess. I LOVE unexpected, honest reviews. Even the bad. It's feedback and it's valuable. But like yousaid, it IS only opinion. That is ALL it is.

One of my biggest real-life heroes is Russell Crowe, and he said these words that I try to hold close as my mantra as far as reviews goes:


Amen, Russell.

Jean Joachim said...

There's nothing like an honest good review to make my day. I try to ignore the bad ones if I can't learn from them. I never leave a bad review of a book. Just because I didn't like it doesn't mean someone else won't. Will never trash a book.

Allie Standifer said...

Thanks, everyone for your great thoughts & opinions. I'm glad there more of us then 'them' out there :)

Julianne said...

Ok, Miss Princess! Ive seen you at RomantiCon, but never really had the chance to sit down and talk with you.
I agree that the author shouldn't let a review make or break them. But I'm not an author (yet). And I don't know how getting an unflattering review can make one react. I have read reviews on Amazon as well Ellora's Cave site. When I see one review that really trashes a book and the rest sing it's praises, I think that the one bad one might be just there to hurt. I read many many books. I am a reviewer for TwoLips Reviews. I can't speak for other review sites but TwoLips strives for impartial reviews. I've never personally been bribed for a good review. I'd like to think that I have been fair and impartial on all the reviews I've done. Do I have favorite authors? Sure I do, but if I read one of their books for review and I think it's not one of their better books, my review reflects that. But I believe there is a tactful way to say things.

I really haven't read a book I absolutely hated, although some have made me ask "why". I have also emailed authors with my questions and comments, which have been answered in a friendly manner.
I really enjoy reviewing books. I have read genres and authors I probably would have never tried otherwise.

Rose Anderson said...

This is a perfect post Allie. I give it mind. ;)
have had some great reviews and some good reviews and recently a confusing review. It was my first WTF review where the pendulum swung wide from left to right and back again.

I'm a big girl, I can handle opinions. Not every book is a good fit with every reader. As a kind person, I don't understand snark. I've read book reviews where all I could say was really? Was the reading experience that bad you continued to torture yourself to the end just so you could tell everyone how tortured you were? LOL What's the point?

As a writer, if I can't learn from a poor review then what good is it? Is it only supposed to make the writer feel bad or perhaps lower sales? Some people can only feel big when others are made small I guess. Again, great post.
~Rose Anderson

Molly Daniels said...

Guess blogger ate my comment from yesterday:(

I've never judged a book based on reviews; if I like the premise/excerpt, I'll buy it. If I love a book, I'll shout it to the world, but won't slam one. My taste is not like everyone else's.

I've been fortunate (so far!) not to see any 'bad' reviews of my work; readers may be keeping silent. And the ones who have offered constructive advice I've taken it to heart and tried to improve. I would hope that anyone complaining about another person's books would state WHY they didn't like it, or what could have been improved.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the awesome post. We get feedback on our work, and some of it is good and some of it isn't. I like the honest feedback, no matter if it is good or bad, I can use it to help improve my writing. Not sure how I feel about the bribing idea, at least it not as bad as paying for reviews, that sounds a little too desperate to me.
We write because the voices in our heads tell us to.
AM Burns

Unknown said...

Very good, Allie. I agree authors promoting authors through reviews is a little out of hand. I do it, too...but I am very selective. And...since I'm not a literary critic and have no right to mark a book down for those lofty reasons NY reviewers use, I do post reviews on Amazon ever so often. I have two ratings--don't post a review because I didn't like the book that much, or post a five star because, well, I liked the book! I see no reason not to, since I don't make a habit of it.
Authors trollings for reviews--and of course they want fives--runs against the grain. I hate to be asked, but since anyone so rarely does, I don't worry about it too much.
I do pay attention to reviews--if I see 30 fives, then I see...well, you know.

I was a a real reviewer once for a site, but stopped--too time consuming, and the owner didn't like for me to turn a book back to her that I didn't like. You see?

I wrote a blog once about My Rating System based On Candy Bars. People liked that one--probably because they all had one main ingredient--chocolate.

Mary's Naughty Whispers said...

Wow. Your post will sure keep us talking and talking.
You are right to say that a bad review should not be the end of an author's writing although not every author do have an armor once they publish their first release.
In an ideal world, authors would read everything talking about their work, think about it, analyze it, take in consideration or not and then move on to the next book. They should read a review (not talking about the I-like-it-you-should-buy-it but a detailed review) and remember that a reviewer is before all a reader so his/her review should be taken at the same level of consideration as any reader who would contact the author directly.
In my "about me" I explain that it is not because I give a bad review that the author is a "bad" author. I like blue. You hate blue. It does not mean that I or you is wrong. It is just a matter of different opinion and taste.
Every author should take a review with a grain of salt, agreed. Not easy to achieve though.
Every reader should just read a review as if they see an ads on TV. Looks good but in finality, it does not mean they will like it or they could also totally love the product and no longer live without it.
I review erotic menage stories. Some authors and readers contacted me and told me they appreciate my way to review the stories. Probably a lot do not and most are completely indifferent. And that is okay! Nobody can please everyone. If a person choose to become public, this person should be prepared that they will be hurt one way or another. Some authors will not take kindly that some reviewer do not think their work are the next Pulitzer? Too bad! Some reviewer are treated poorly because they are too sarcastic or do not provide the must read rating? so be it! Everyone is different and the same: egocentric, narcissistic, fame whore, thinking about $$ before quality... but also kind, talented, open-minded, incredible human being etc. It is just amplified because we are all hidden behind our own screen.
Unfortunately, there is the good and the bad seeds everywhere and instead of thinking authors vs reviewers, I think both should be complementary: without a review, an author will remain on his/her pedestal and will never really evolve because lets face it... not many can claim to be in the top 10 USA TODAY's Best-Selling Books list... Same with reviewer, some will be fair and honest and some will just want to build their book collection.
I hope I am in the fair and honest category :)
my 2 cennes ;)